Edinburgh family told illness was 'probably a cold' fear they could have brought Covid-19 to Scotland after Italian ski trip
Trish Lumsden, 46, attempted to get a coronavirus test for her son Christian when he came down with a cough and fever, but was told by her GP that it was “probably a cold”.
The visit to the GP came on February 28, by which time he had already been back in school for nearly two weeks, the Herald report.
Guidelines around travel to and from Italy was updated on February 25, but there had already been a large amount of positive cases and some deaths, with towns such as Lombardy under quarantine.
The Lumsden family had been ski-ing in the Dolomites during the half term break and returned home on February 16.
The family, who live in Currie, say they also visited popular tourist spots such as Venice just hours before the flew home.
Mrs Lumsden told the Herald: “We didn't even realise until we go there that the Carnival was on and it was incredibly busy.
"We couldn't even get into St Mark's Square it was so busy. We didn't really think that much about it, but I do remember someone on the taxiboats - where you're really squashed in - coughing behind me.
"And I did think 'urgh', but I didn't think about it in relation to coronavirus.
"By the time Christian started getting a cough and a fever on the 28th they had opened the drive-thru test centre at the Western and because I was taking my eldest daughter to hockey on the Saturday and Christian was going to be going to his friends, I thought 'I could really be doing with getting him tested to make sure he's not going to infect other people'.
"So I phoned the GP on Saturday morning and he said 'would you be worried about him normally, if it wasn't for coronavirus?'. I said 'no', so he said ' it'll just be a cold then, don't worry about it - they're only interested if you came back from Italy since the 19th'.
"He said since we'd come back on the 16th there was nothing to worry about. At the time I thought that sounded a bit stupid, but now I think it sounds really stupid."
After returning to work on the Royal Mile, Mrs Lumsden and her husband Tom developed symptoms including headaches that lasted a week, fever, shivers, aching bones and extreme fatigue.
Two more of their four children, Stella, 13, and Sebastian, 12, later developed a cough, fever and sore legs. None fo the children were sent to school following their illnesses, but it has now been suggested that people can be infectious up to three days before symptoms emerge.
Scotland’s chief medical officer at the time Dr Catherine Calderwood dais on January 30 that it was “highly likely” that the firt Covid-19 case in Scotland would be detected within days, but that didn’t come until March 1, when a patient in Tayside tested positive following a trip to northern Italy.
The UK entered lockdown on March 9 and at the same time imposed travel restrictions to Italy for “all but essential travel”.
"The week after we came back was when it all kicked off, and everyone we knew was like 'oh, you were in Italy - you could be carrying it'," said Mrs Lumsden.
"We could have been a spreader, I don't know.
"I would have loved to have had [Christian] tested and I can't really understand why he wasn't.
"At the time I did think it was strange, but you put your faith in the doctor and think 'they must know'. But I really did question it.
"How many other people returning to Scotland from north Italy at this time called the NHS as they had symptoms and were told they were fine?"
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The approach taken to advising returning travellers from specific countries and areas in mid-February was agreed by the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) on the best and most up to date expert scientific and medical advice at the time of making the decision.”
A Message from the Editor
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.
Joy YatesEditorial Director